For the past several weeks we have heard a great deal about the Faith Based Initiative as presented by President Bush. At first glance this proposal looks as if it gives a great deal of freedom to religious organizations and helps them to better become a part of the American society. Part of the bill would allow FEMA to rebuild worship centers in areas of natural disasters, and religious organizations would benefit from Federal money to assist those in need. So why are we working so hard to do away with this bill? 1. The funding used for this program comes from the Community Services Network, a group of Community Action Agencies that reach into 96% of the counties in America with nearly 40 years of experience. Unlike welfare offices, the Community Services Network has the goal of getting people off of welfare and out of poverty. With the Faith Based Initiative this network would disappear from existence, the (approx.) 9.3 million people helped annually would revert to dependence on welfare, and hundreds of thousands of trained professional case managers would be jobless. (For more information on this network of providers, visit http://www.ncaf.org/cacaa.html) 2. No single faith based organization can reach the number of people that the Community Service Network can because there is no organization that is established in every community as this network. 3. Faith based organization workers are not trained to deal with the situations they will encounter and are not equipped to track "users" as are Community Action Agencies. 4. Any organization that receives this money will be forced to comply with the demands of the government. This means (for instance) that if the Southern Baptist Association receives CSBG (or other federal) funds, every church or ministry belonging to this association must comply with anything they are told to do - including marraige of homosexuals, support of abortion, etc. The separation of church and state was created to keep the government OUT of the church, not the church out of the government. This proposal is a CLEAR breach of our rights as Christians AND Americans. 5. The word FAITH does not necessarily mean CHRISTIAN. Christians, Muslims, Buddhist, Wiccans, Satanists, etc. would be eligible for this money. This could lead to fights between denominations and discrimination of service to those not in the faith of the receiving organization. Maybe these items do not seem important to you, but they are. Christians have lost nearly every right we have over the past decade because we have become lazy and passive. This could very well be our last chance to stand up and keep God in the church, and Uncle Sam out. This bill also has the potential of destroying the American economy by ridding us of the ONLY organization primarily dedicated to getting people OFF of govt. assistance and leaving an army of jobless caseworkers in the wake.